thoughts & feelings finishing my pumping journey: real + raw motherhood.

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If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you probably didn’t see my short post about finishing my pumping journey. Although this post won’t be relatable to many, I thought it was important to document my thoughts and feelings.

I exclusively pumped for 1 year and 4 months. My journey ended last month & I couldn’t be more relieved and thrilled. If you don’t know what exclusively pumping is… I used a breast pump to get my milk, and would bottle feed Eloise. She never nursed directly from my breasts. Why? Because it just didn’t work out that way.

A little background: when I was pregnant, I never gave breastfeeding much thought… other than knowing I would breastfeed Eloise. I had NO idea how hard breastfeeding was, ha. I had NO idea what was in store for me!

After Eloise was born- November 30, 2018… our breastfeeding journey “began”. I had problems from the very beginning. I had no fucking clue what I was doing! It came so unnatural to me- looking back. Which is fine, because these are things that you learn! I saw a breastfeeding consultant in the hospital, and she was nice, but Ellie just wasn’t getting a good latch. After leaving the hospital, I was on my own! I had a manual pump, because I was producing so much milk! My milk supply was never the issue, it was her latch. Well, to make a long story short, I was in SO MUCH PAIN with each feeding… not to be TMI but my nipples were just torn up. I was bleeding, and crying of the pain with each feeding. I was so frustrated, exhausted, and I felt like a total failure. Defeated.

I really only “nursed” Eloise from my boobs less than two weeks, really. I just couldn’t take it anymore, things weren’t getting better. I ended up getting mastitis (OUCH- google it). The hospital issued me an amazing breast pump- and my pumping journey began!

I swear, this journey has been all trial & error. I have had to learn my body, and know when I was “empty” so that I wouldn’t have mastitis again. It was many many hours of being tied to that pump! Early mornings, and late nights. In the beginning, I was pumping every 3 hours. Constant! As Eloise got older, my body adjusted and at the end tail of my journey I could go up to 6-7 hours without pumping. There was a time when I got a huge abscess on my boob, but I pumped through that. It was the most painful experience (worst than mastitis, in my opinion) and I almost quit! But I didn’t.

I sure will NOT miss taking my pump (and it’s parts) EVERYWHERE! If we wanted to have a fun day out, my pump would always come along. I’ve pumped in my car a million times, I’ve pumped at airports, in public restrooms, etc. It was a hassle, for sure.

I don’t mean this post to come off like I’m whining… but being an exclusive pumper is no joke. I HATED IT! It’s a TON of work! But I did it! I surpassed my goal of ONE YEAR! I’m beyond proud of myself and all the sacrifices I’ve made for my daughter.

This post is for all the mamas out there, who’ve felt defeated like I did! Being a mother is the hardest job EVER! If you breastfeed, exclusively pump, have to supplement, or completely have your baby on formula- YOU ARE AMAZING. Every mom’s situation is different. Every mother’s experience and journey is different. No one is better than the other. I think mother’s don’t get enough credit!

If I’m able to have another little bundle of joy, maybe my next journey will be different! At least I know what to expect & know what I’m in for! haha. Being a first time mother is SOOOOO overwhelming! But man- I’m so lucky to have a great partner by my side. All those late nights I’d have to get up to pump, Dexter was by my side bottle-feeding Eloise. I couldn’t have done it without such a patient, loving, & present partner.

I DID IT! YAY!

 

Saying goodbye to 2019.

Christmas is officially over, and things have calmed down. I have been reminiscing a lot about 2019: there were many highs and lows. 2019 was a huge year because it was my first official year of motherhood. So many emotions! My patience has been tested, so many lessons I’ve learned along the way. As I look back, I cannot believe it went by in a blink! Where did the year truly go? I have no idea… Eloise has been my main focus and it’s so bittersweet looking back on photos of her being a tiny sweet newborn. Time truly waits for no one!

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My sweet girl only a few months old!

 

 

Another high of 2019: I asked my partner to be my husband! I PROPOSED! If you missed that post you can read it HERE. I loved our engagement… a warm March day by the ocean. Muir Beach in Northern California will forever hold a special place in my heart. 2020 is going to be the year we finally say “I DO”! It’s exciting… and long overdue.

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2019 we did a bit of traveling: Northern California, New England, Colorado, and Utah (for some national parks). I have to say… New England during Autumn was hands down my favorite trip of 2019! It was PURE MAGIC! It was also Eloise’s first plane ride, and she did so amazing. (I stressed out for nothing!) I’m really hoping 2020 brings more adventures… and I’m crossing my fingers it’s international. Some places I’d love to visit in 2020: Hawaii (Maui of course!), the Bay Area- to visit friends and our old stomping grounds, and Europe (hoping we can go to the Netherlands & France). I know that’s a lot to hope for… but I’m putting it out in the universe. 😉

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A pic from New England… pure beauty!

 

 

I am also pleased with all the reading I did in 2019. I’m going to officially make a “reading” goal for 2020- be on the lookout for that! My favorite books of 2019? The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides you can find HERE. Also The Editor by Steven Rowley you can find HERE. I actually met Steven Rowley at a book signing in Pleasanton, California. He was so friendly, and gave good advice on anyone aspiring to write their own novel (yup, I asked). I already have a stack of books going into 2020 that I want to read- I’m so excited! I signed up & am officially a member for BOOK OF THE MONTH. If you’d like to sign up too- CLICK THIS LINK. 🙂

 

This year I turned 27 years old… and I feel content growing older. I lost a lot of weight, but want to focus on feeling healthier and stronger. I’m hoping I can stop my lazy ways, and start a workout I am truly passionate about. I start school again in FALL 2020! I have one year left until I graduate, and that’s probably the biggest goal set for myself. FINISH SCHOOL: COMPLETE MY BACHELOR’S DEGREE. It’s been a crazy journey, but taking time off from school to focus on being a mother has been the greatest blessing. I am fortunate to stay home with Eloise- but I need to finish what I started. I need to show Ellie that no matter what struggles and hardships I endured: mommy finished strong!

 

 

I have been lagging on my blog this entire year… it took the backseat because I’ve been so busy or tired adjusting to mom life. But I want to explore my creative side more! I want to do fun posts about fashion, food, motherhood + travel. I want 2020 to be the best year yet… and venture outside of my comfort zone. I hope you all have an amazing New Year! What goals do you want to accomplish this New Year? Any travel plans? I’d love to read them. I wish you all good health, happiness, success, and lots of love. See you in the New Year!

BRING IT ON 2020!

 

 

xo

 

 

Our family trip to New England:

We just got back from the most amazing trip to New England! We visited Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire for the first time. It was also Eloise’s first trip out of California and on an airplane. I was so nervous for the 5 hour flight- but to my surprise, she slept the entire time and didn’t cry. Night flights for the win! We flew into Boston Logan airport, and picked up our rental car. We spent a week driving, exploring, eating lobster rolls, and basking in the Autumn beauty. I’ve never experienced Autumn like this before- the vibrant colors of orange, yellow, and red everywhere. I was in heaven. It was pure magic!

MAINE:

Some places we visited in Maine was: Portland, Freeport, Brunswick, Cape Elizabeth.

Maine was the whole reason of coming to New England. Dexter knows it’s been on my list of places I’ve been dying to see for years. Everywhere we turned, there was beauty! We drove up to Freeport to visit the L.L.Bean Flagship store! I got a sweatshirt, and some matching shirts for Eloise and Adelaide. It was massive and everything in the store was so cute! I truly LOVE how people in New England dress: comfortable, warm, outdoorsy. You probably think I’m weird for saying this- but it’s so different from California (and of course it’s because they dress according to their weather). We had the best lobster roll in Cape Elizabeth from a small food truck called Bite into Maine. WOW. If you ever get a chance to eat a lobster roll from them, do it. You won’t regret it!

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

Some places we visited in New Hampshire was: Portsmouth, all of the Kancamagus Highway, and Hampton Falls.

New Hampshire was downright stunning. When we arrived at Portsmouth I had a mini heart attack! I couldn’t believe how old and charming this port city was. The downtown area was lined with cute shops and restaurants. We grabbed a bite to eat at Portsmouth Brewery, and called it a day. Kancamagus Highway was my favorite part of New Hampshire! The White Mountain National Forest was such a sight to see: trees everywhere! All shades of yellow, burnt orange, red, and green. Although there was a lot of traffic on the highway (it was expected since it’s a popular attraction this time of year) I think it was worth the 2-3 hours! If you go to New Hampshire during Autumn, you have to see this at least once in your lifetime. You won’t be disappointed. We took so many photos! We even managed to stumble upon a cute pumpkin patch, randomly when we were driving through New Hampshire. It was perfect!

MASSACHUSETTS:

Some places we visited in Massachusetts: Salem, Boston, Greater Boston, Melrose, Wellesley, and Cape Cod.

We had a blast exploring Massachusetts! One of things I’ve been dying to see is the Hocus Pocus House (in Salem) & it was so cute! I cannot believe my childhood dreams came true! Haha. I had to snap a picture outside of it. Boston was also fun to explore- but I really enjoyed the quieter/smaller towns this trip. We enjoyed driving outside of Boston, and seeing the suburbs. Cape Cod was a dream. Since it’s off-season, we had the entire beach to ourselves during the sunset. I LOVED Cape Cod… it was definitely a sight to see! It is so quaint and beautiful— all the homes were to die for. We spent the night at Ocean Club on Smugglers Beach, and I would definitely go back again. Cape Cod is a gem!

Overall, the trip was a major success! If you follow me on Instagram (@krystalinthecity) you’ve probably seen most of these photos! But I can’t help but share them, we took so many good ones.

I loved that we kept our plans pretty flexible. Eloise was incredible on our trip; we did a lot of driving and she proved to us that she’s the best travel buddy. My heart was filled with so much joy that we were able to enjoy our first family vacation, during my favorite season. I am truly missing the East Coast… and how there are Dunkin’ Donuts everywhere. Haha! My go to order is an iced coffee with cream & caramel. Yum, I had one every single day of the trip! 🙂

We have one more family trip planned during November and I cannot wait! We will be road trippin’ some place we’ve never been before… stay tuned. Have a great week!

xo

ELOISE’S FIRST TIME TO DISNEYLAND!

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It’s officially Halloween-time at Disneyland, and we celebrated my 27th birthday at the happiest place on Earth! It was also Ellie’s first time to Disneyland and she did SO good. We knew we wouldn’t be able to go on many rides- but that didn’t stop us from having fun. (Side note: Elle turned 10 months on my birthday!)

 

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Eloise loved the carousel so much! She was screaming, and throwing her head back the entire time. She also went on Winnie the Pooh and Pirates of the Caribbean. For being a Monday, it was pretty busy! We definitely have to go back so we can take her on Dumbo, It’s a Small World, the Jungle Cruise, and go explore California Adventure.

 

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It was fun spending time with family, eating delicious Disneyland treats, and finally seeing Star Wars Land! WOW. It is definitely my favorite part of the park now! Dex and I tried the blue and green “milk”, and it’s worth buying both! I personally loved the blue milk more than the green. YUMMY! I can’t really describe the flavor… but it’s subtle and has a great consistency- sort of like a slushy.

Also- if you’re a nursing or pumping mama, Disneyland has a baby care center with a room you can comfortably feed your baby. You can also change your baby’s diaper (or take your toddler to go potty), and a place to make a bottle (with bottle warmers). This baby care center came in handy for my sister and I!

 

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I can’t believe I’m 27 years old! Officially in my “late” twenties… woah. I hope this year brings happiness, new experiences, growth, and more amazing memories with my little family. Dex and I are planning a New England trip this month- and I’m so excited to visit Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire! It’ll be our first time there, so if you have any recommendations send them my way! Have a great rest of the week.

 

xo

APPLE PICKING IN OAK GLEN.

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Happy Autumn, everyone! My favorite season is finally here… and I couldn’t be happier! Now that I have a baby, I really wanted to dive deep into making new family traditions. We decided to take a drive to Oak Glen (which is about an hour & a half away from where we currently live) and go apple picking for the first time!

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It was our first time in Oak Glen, and it was the cutest little mountain town. They had little shops to buy souvenirs, apple pie, and other yummy treats. We went with my sister, her husband and my niece. We ate at a place called Apple Annie’s, and grab apple pie from their bakery to go (soooo good). We walked around, grabbed some apple cider, then made our way to the apple orchards. If you’re near Yucaipa, I recommend stopping in Oak Glen to check out the little town (especially this time of year).

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We chose to visit Willowbrook Apple Farm and they had the most beautiful apple trees that were over 100 years old. They had chickens, a mini donkey & horse, and a little baby piglet named Delilah. SO ADORABLE. It was such a nice day spending time together as a family, and a great opportunity to take pictures! I’m so excited for more Autumn trips this season.

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Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!

xo

Life Update: NorCal to SoCal

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These past couple of months have been so crazy. After 6.5 years of living in Northern California, it’s time to say “see you later”. We have officially moved down to Southern California! It’s so bittersweet- on one hand, the Bay Area has become my home and I love it so much. On the other hand, all my family is in Southern California (including my twin sister and niece). Moving down here isn’t a long term decision, as we haven’t decided where we want to plant down permanent roots. Do we stay in California? I can’t see myself living in Los Angeles long term… maybe eventually move out of state? Not sure! We are keeping all our options open, but for the next 3-5 years we will be here.

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Truthfully, I didn’t want to move at all- but it was best for our little family. I want my daughter and niece to grow up together, and have them be best friends. It’s time to make new memories, and to open a new chapter in our lives. So, for now, Southern California is home again!

 

Some things I’m looking forward to:

-exploring Santa Barbara

-going to Catalina Island

-exploring San Diego

-getting a Disneyland annual pass

-driving along Pacific Coast Highway (lots of beach days!)

-exploring some vineyards (Temecula + Malibu)

-Solvang + Ojai trips

 

I already have a list of places and restaurants I want to try; I can’t wait to explore + share some of our adventures on the blog.

Until then, see you for Eloise’s 7 month update!

xo

ELOISE IS FIVE MONTHS OLD!

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Happy May! Another month has truly flown by. Sweet girl is officially 5 months old! I’m still trying to have that sink in. She has found her voice; she loves to yell, scream, squeal, and shout. I love that she is learning to express herself, but I won’t lie- her doing this for 15 minutes straight can start to make my head hurt. She has also learned how to whine. She whines when she is tired, or just to whine… that can also drive me crazy. (and so it begins)

I just cannot believe how much she has developed within this past month. Eloise is still doing tummy time, and can roll over multiple times! Her neck strength has always been amazing, and she can hold herself up completely with her arms/elbows. She can also sit up by herself (with help!) She loves to baby babble, and suck her fingers for comfort. I’m so in love with her, and still pinching myself that I’m her mom.

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She is smiling and laughing so much now. It brings me SO much joy to hear her giggles. We went to SF last weekend, hung out in Japantown and Golden Gate Park. We are going to SoCal this weekend, to see family. I’m not worried about her being in the car anymore, because she’s such a good girl. I know she’ll sleep for most of it. I’m so glad I don’t experience that anxiety anymore.

Ellie is 13-14 pounds, and officially fits 6 month clothing. She still loves her milk, and we are actually going to introduce her to food this month. I want to start with puréed green beans or sweet potato. She’s shown great interest in seeing us eat, and will even open her mouth! I think she’s ready.

Here are some photos over the past month:

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I have so many other photos of Eloise, it’s so hard to choose which ones are my favorite. Make sure to follow me on instagram! Mother’s Day is coming up, do you have any special plans?

xo

HE SAID YES! WE’RE ENGAGED!

What a beautiful and memorable weekend it has been. I’ve been planning a really special surprise for a little over a month… and I finally got to execute it! I asked Dexter to marry me. You heard that right: I asked!

A year ago on March 31, 2018- we found out we were pregnant. When I initially took the pregnancy test & it was positive, I was so shocked and I was freaking out. We weren’t “trying” to have a baby (also I didn’t even know if I could get pregnant because of my health issues), and I had a year left of school until I graduated. But after being pregnant and giving birth to our healthy & perfect girl, I realized that there was never going to be a “perfect” time to have a baby. Eloise has bonded Dexter and I in a way I cannot explain. It’s made us appreciate one another, and my love for him has deepened. So, I was thinking about all of this and it hit me: I should ask this man to marry me. I want to spend the rest of my life with him, and in the 7+ years of being together the timing finally felt right. So what better way, than to pop the question on our “finding out we are pregnant” anniversary?

So, I asked my sisters to be there so they can take pictures. My twin sister, brother-in-law and niece came up for a “weekend visit” and we all went for a scenic drive to Muir Beach. It was such a beautiful day: warm and sunny. I picked a nice little view overlooking the Pacific Ocean and read a special letter I wrote for Dexter… then I got down on one knee. He said YES! He’s been upgraded to my fiancé! 🙂 He reacted how I thought he would: he was super shocked and had no idea it was coming. I’m so happy I got to pull off such an amazing surprise! He’s usually the one surprising me in our relationship, but this time the tables were turned. 😉

We’ve already picked our wedding date & we know where we want to get married. I’m really excited to pick the perfect dress. Bring on the wedding planning!


ELOISE IS THREE MONTHS OLD!

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These months are flying by, and I love watching Ellie grow every single day. This stage is beginning to excite me more & more. Eloise is cooing & smiling a lot more. She shrieks with excitement, loves to look at mommy & daddy, is very good at tummy time (but won’t roll over yet), and will have long conversations with herself. It seems like her little personality is already developing and I cannot believe how interactive she is already! She has given us a few chuckles, but no belly-laughs… yet. I cannot wait for that!

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Ellie likes to touch my face, watch Sesame Street with daddy, and does so amazing in the car! She had her second road trip to visit family in Southern California, and got to hang out with her auntie, uncle, and cousin Addie! Eloise also went to Griffith Park for the first time (somewhere I went all the time as a child), went to her first brewery, and more park visits with her puppy sister, Lola.

Elle is 12 lbs, fits in size 1 diapers, but will be transitioning in size 2 very soon! She still fits in 0-3 mo. clothing, but I have a feeling she’ll be fitting in 3-6 mo. in a few weeks. 🙁 She’s growing so quickly! She celebrated her first Valentine’s Day, and daddy’s 32nd birthday!

Here are some pictures of my girl:

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Can’t wait to see what March brings!

ELOISE IS TWO MONTHS OLD!

I’ve been so busy being a new mom, blogging has taken the backseat. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance my time! Since Eloise is still so small, she isn’t on a set “schedule” yet, so she sleeps when she sleeps! I try and get housework done, eat or catch up on some of my favorite shows when I have some downtime .

Anyhow, Eloise is officially TWO MONTHS OLD! Holy moly. She’s 10lbs 6oz, and is getting her first set of shots tomorrow! I’m so not looking forward to my baby girl crying & being in pain! It’s going to be the saddest thing ever.

Ellie went on her first road trip to Southern California & did amazing! I’m so proud of her! She didn’t cry at all, and slept most of the way. She met her great-grandma for the first time, and it was so special. I am so grateful that my grandma is around for this chapter in my life.

Ellie also got to spend time with her cousin, Adelaide! I love seeing my niece. She is 5 months old, and is smiling so much. She reaches and grabs for Eloise, and it’s the cutest thing ever. I can’t believe our babies are growing up so fast!

Here are some pictures of Eloise Audrey Colette:

It’s been a fun and tiring month, and we just love watching this little girl grow! I have to say, I’m looking forward to seeing her smile more & hopefully laugh very soon!